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Lexicostatistics (also: Lexicometrics ) is the area of language statistics that deals with statistical studies of the vocabulary of languages.

Lexicon statistics as a sub-area of ​​language statistics

The lexicostatistics is a subregion of the language statistics to be construed, however, which deals not only with the vocabulary, but also with all other aspects of language, such. B. with rank frequencies of letters or sounds or the frequency of complex sentences in different types of text. This distinction between lexical statistics and language statistics is not sufficiently clear in some specialist dictionaries.

Subject areas of lexicostatistics

Lexicostatistics deals with all aspects of vocabulary; from the research tradition one can u. a. cite the following topics: creation of frequency dictionaries ; Development of the basic vocabulary ; Growth of vocabulary in texts ( token and type relation); Connection between the diversity, the richness of the vocabulary and the length of the text; Development of noticeably more frequent or also less frequent words in texts; Distribution of words in texts; Scope and specifics of specialist vocabulary; Proportion of individual words in the total text (text coverage ); Investigation of the rate of decay of the vocabulary of a language in time ( glottochronology ). If studies of the vocabulary serve to test the laws of language change ( Piotrowski law ) or the language system and the use of language, lexicostatistics must also be understood as an essential part of quantitative linguistics .


  • Rolf-Dietrich Keil: Uniform methods in lexicometry . In: IRAL (= International Revue of Applied Linguistics in Language Teaching) 3, 1965, pp. 95-122. (Contains an extensive bibliography.)
  • Sylvain Loiseau: Lexicométrie: A Linguistic School in France in the 1960s - 1980s. History, Theories and Methods. In: Jacqueline Léon, Sylvain Loiseau (eds.): History of Quantitative Linguistics in France. RAM-Verlag, Lüdenscheid 2016, pages 69–93. ISBN 978-3-942303-48-4 .
  • Charles Muller : Introduction to Language Statistics . Hueber, Munich 1972. (French: Initiation à la statistique linguistique. Librairie Larousse, Paris 1968.)
  • Pantelis Nikitopoulos: Language Statistics . In: Hans Peter Althaus, Helmut Henne, Herbert Ernst Wiegand : Lexicon of German Linguistics. 2nd, completely revised and enlarged edition. Niemeyer, Tübingen 1980, ISBN 3-484-10392-2 , pp. 792-802.

Web links

Wiktionary: Lexicostatistics  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wiktionary: Text coverage  - explanations of meanings, word origins , synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. So: Hadumod Bußmann (Ed.): Lexikon der Sprachwissenschaft. 3rd updated and expanded edition. Kröner, Stuttgart 2002, ISBN 3-520-45203-0 , p. 408; Helmut Glück (Ed.), With the collaboration of Friederike Schmöe : Metzler Lexikon Sprache. 3rd, revised edition. Metzler, Stuttgart / Weimar 2005, ISBN 3-476-02056-8 , p. 382.